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The captain and the leader of the pack
Winning All That Matters
4 April 2010, 3:03 pm
By Chris Byrne
In today's Irish Independent Peter Drucker is quoted - Leadership is not about making speeches; leadership is defined by results - The article author Hugh Farrelly went on to say that Biarritz would be happy that Paul O'Connell would not be playing on Sunday.
Farrelly continuing said, "However, in O'Gara, Munster have a leader who goes into Sunday's showdown with a clarity of thought and focus, augmenting a pragmatic grasp of the task-in-hand."

Less than three weeks ago in the same newspaper, in O'Connell's absence, a colleague of Farrelly's talked about "the lack of any discernible on-field leadership", and went on to say that O'Gara, "does not look comfortable in the leadership role."

Some hours after that article appeared, Ronan O'Gara, playing in his 181st competitive game for Munster, drove his side to this their ninth Heineken Cup semi-final.

At last Wednesday's nmedia day in Musgrave Park, Charlie Mulqueen of The Irish Examiner asked O'Gara if he enjoyed the role of captain.

"Yes I do Charlie, I love it," was the immediate response.

"I enjoy responsibility, he continued, "I take my rugby very seriously. I like to think I prepare well for games."

"I think the role of captain, sometimes it can be over- exaggerated. I mean primarily my job is to perform to the best of my ability. And if Paul is playing, that doesn't change for me. I'm obviously aware that as a captain I have an awful lot of duties as well on the field in terms of tactics."

"But any senior player in this team, when they feel like speaking, they speak. That's the beauty of it. You're not looking to one or two people all the time. It's a shared responsibility."

"Obviously when it comes to crucial decisions the captain will cop the praise or take the flak. That's what comes with the territory and that's why you enjoy putting yourself out there, to get criticised or to get praise."

" I enjoy it. I got good experience in 2008 when we went a long way in the campaign without Paulie and he came in and got us home."

In terms of those crucial decisions down the years it's the number 10 who has called the shots no matter who was captain.

"Yeh, over all the years, decisions whether to go for goal or the corner, have been 95% decisions for me."

"There'd be times," he says with a laugh," when he'd (Paul) overrule. When I'd want to go to the corner. He'd just go, 'Points Rog' He'd tell the ref. Wouldn't ask." O'Gara says with another laugh.

Would there be any consolation in his playing well on Sunday, he was aked by Eugene Crotty, or is it all about the result?

"The result" he answered. "Of course it is. Yes. 100% Yes."

"If I have a shocker and Munster win that doesn't matter. It's not about me. Never was about me. It's about Munster."

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